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40 minutes ago, Smalahundur said:

Good explanation Maja. I suppose this is what I have heard called Derek's "dangerous ground" method. I have been wondering about what was meant by that term. You and Donald made that clearer. It has also been my experience that stepping in/ pressuring the dog does not always yield the desired results.

I am just coming back in the house from a training session with Seimur. He still has a tendency to slice in at the top. I decided to experiment a little, positioning me like Maja describes (nothing new, like in the daisy wheel exercise  Vergil Holland describes). But now, instead of putting pressure on the dog I smithe the offending piece of ground  like a madman (feeling slightly silly :) ), and resend. It worked really well, after just a couple of times  he really widened out at the top.

I have no doubt we will need time to consolidate this but for now I am really satisfied with the effect of this approach. 

and here is when I would love to see a video that I can use as a Demo:). Maja's video was already very helpful. so if you can video what you do it would be great!

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4 hours ago, Smalahundur said:

Good explanation Maja. I suppose this is what I have heard called Derek's "dangerous ground" method. I have been wondering about what was meant by that term. You and Donald made that clearer. It has also been my experience that stepping in/ pressuring the dog does not always yield the desired results.

I am just coming back in the house from a training session with Seimur. He still has a tendency to slice in at the top. I decided to experiment a little, positioning me like Maja describes (nothing new, like in the daisy wheel exercise  Vergil Holland describes). But now, instead of putting pressure on the dog I smithe the offending piece of ground  like a madman (feeling slightly silly :) ), and resend. It worked really well, after just a couple of times  he really widened out at the top.

I have no doubt we will need time to consolidate this but for now I am really satisfied with the effect of this approach. 

I also got very interested in the "dangerous ground method" that I just ordered Derek's DVD set so that I will get a good understanding of what to do.

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10 hours ago, Smalahundur said:

Good explanation Maja. I suppose this is what I have heard called Derek's "dangerous ground" method. I have been wondering about what was meant by that term. You and Donald made that clearer. It has also been my experience that stepping in/ pressuring the dog does not always yield the desired results.

 

My description contains element of the dangerous ground, which I was able to learn   from Derek face to face, but lacks the key element of hitting the ground we want the dog to avoid.  I will try and make a video of it, but I don know if it will work because it had never worked on Darine when she was a pup  (but then nothing worked on Darine when she was young) and since I told her that she needs to figure out her flank all on her own, she tends to run too wide :lol: . The most important thing when we hit the ground is to look at the ground and never at the dog.  

On 7/26/2018 at 12:12 AM, denice said:

If you watch your first video listed...when you put pressure on the dog - step toward him, bend toward him, wave the stick.. to attempt to get him further off sheep  the dog pushed back.  every time.  pressure causes this - you push he pushes.  if you watch while you are walking opening up the area giving the dog room, taking pressure off his outruns are better.  No tail flipping, more relaxed.  

Exactly, this is very visible there.  

 

 

 

 

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On 7/27/2018 at 2:53 AM, Maja said:

My description contains element of the dangerous ground, which I was able to learn   from Derek face to face, but lacks the key element of hitting the ground we want the dog to avoid.  I will try and make a video of it, but I don know if it will work because it had never worked on Darine when she was a pup  (but then nothing worked on Darine when she was young) and since I told her that she needs to figure out her flank all on her own, she tends to run too wide :lol: . The most important thing when we hit the ground is to look at the ground and never at the dog.  

 

 

 

 

I think I will need to see this demonstrated, I got the concept, I'm not sure about the hitting the ground part. also are the sheep supposed to stay in place while I do this?

the DVD should arrive this week.

yesterday I had trial sheep available and they were extremely flighty, so I did start some recall from sheep and trying to replicate what you did in your video, but the sheep would took off as soon as Spillo would make a movement. also the recall from sheep is going to be surely a weak spot as Spillo is really hard to recall, he does not give up easily. 

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You need to work on the recall off sheep.  get it down there then go to a round pen with sheep.  You can put the sheep in the pen stay outside of it with your dog work on the recall there.  Walk to sheep call off, walk around the pasture, walk to sheep back up and call....small steps.  I do not take pups out to a pasture w/o a recall.  three times of not coming when asked you have allowed a very bad habit.  Use a long line if you must.  Not calling off sheep to me is disrespectful.  WE are working sheep together, the sheep are MINE not the dogs. If he goes into the pasture thinking what he wants to do with the sheep you have already lost.  He needs to go into the pasture looking to you and asking what do you want me to do with the sheep.  All boils down to your relationship with the dog.  Once you see the difference it is obvious.  he shouldn't be pulling you to sheep.  If he is work on that first.  You need to be able to walk with him off line in the pasture with sheep grazing.  Once you can do that things will begin to fall into place

Also start in the round pen working on calling off sheep once he is ready for that.  Have him balance bringing sheep to you, back up to a fence Lie him down.  Step in front of the sheep, walk toward his shoulder pat your leg call him asking him to turn away from sheep as both you and he walk away.  This is how all my pups begin to learn recalls on sheep.  Can't do it if the sheep run, need to be in a small area where things are more controlled to start.

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On 7/30/2018 at 12:38 PM, denice said:

You need to work on the recall off sheep.  get it down there then go to a round pen with sheep.  You can put the sheep in the pen stay outside of it with your dog work on the recall there.  Walk to sheep call off, walk around the pasture, walk to sheep back up and call....small steps.  I do not take pups out to a pasture w/o a recall.  three times of not coming when asked you have allowed a very bad habit.  Use a long line if you must.  Not calling off sheep to me is disrespectful.  WE are working sheep together, the sheep are MINE not the dogs. If he goes into the pasture thinking what he wants to do with the sheep you have already lost.  He needs to go into the pasture looking to you and asking what do you want me to do with the sheep.  All boils down to your relationship with the dog.  Once you see the difference it is obvious.  he shouldn't be pulling you to sheep.  If he is work on that first.  You need to be able to walk with him off line in the pasture with sheep grazing.  Once you can do that things will begin to fall into place

Also start in the round pen working on calling off sheep once he is ready for that.  Have him balance bringing sheep to you, back up to a fence Lie him down.  Step in front of the sheep, walk toward his shoulder pat your leg call him asking him to turn away from sheep as both you and he walk away.  This is how all my pups begin to learn recalls on sheep.  Can't do it if the sheep run, need to be in a small area where things are more controlled to start.

thank you Denice, all very valuable suggestions! I will surely work on that. I think not having my own sheep and the opportunity to go training a bit every day does make a big difference. Also Spillo was not exposed to sheep when he was a puppy, we started late so I'll do what I can. this for me is a learning process and he probably will never become a very good sheep dog in my hands. I heard this saying that one generally ruin the first sheepdog he/she trains, is that true ? ;-)

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I heard this saying that one generally ruin the first sheepdog he/she trains, is that true ? ;-)

Well "ruin" is a relative term, but I think it's pretty safe to say that it is extremely rare for someone to train their first sheepdog to anywhere near it's full potential if the dog has any real talent.  I've heard that it's typically more like your fourth dog before you become fairly proficient at bringing out the best in a talented sheepdog.   Of course there are a ton of variables including the natural talent of the trainer, access to sheep, access to a good mentor, time and money available to commit to training....   But, bottom line, yeah most sheepdog trainers feel that they came up way short training their first dog or two or three.  

But, so what? You gotta start somewhere, and you'll only learn by trying, and it's not like Spillo cares if he becomes the best sheepdog he can possibly be.  If you and he enjoy your interactions while training, and the sense of partnership you develop improves your bond with each other, and the sheep you train with are treated fairly and compassionately and you have a serious goal of improving your skills and learning more about using dogs to manage sheep, then do your best and enjoy the challenge. 

On the other hand, if you (general you, not you personally) are just doing this to collect "titles" after your dog's name, or you have some romantic notion that your dog pines to live up to his heritage, or your dog yearns for the fulfillment of working sheep, or you just consider an occasional session on sheep to be entertainment for your dog, bear in mind that sheep are sentient animals that would rather not participate in providing your dog with a play day no matter how nicely you treat them.  Truly, I'm not trying to discourage you from continuing if you have a serious interest in improving your ability to work sheep with your dog, even if just as a hobby. I'm a hobby herder too.  And the fact that you initiated this conversation, have taken the advice offered to heart, and have continued the conversation indicates that you are serious about improving.   But I feel sort of compelled to remind every newcomer to the sport (I was one myself) that sheep are not dog toys, and if this is just something you (general you) are just doing as an occasional fun day with your dog, nosework is fun too, is way less expensive, can be done in your living room, also uses your dog's innate abilities,  offers a s..t ton of letters to place after your dog's name if you choose to compete, and doesn't place stress on any other animals. 

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1 hour ago, Hooper2 said:

Well "ruin" is a relative term, but I think it's pretty safe to say that it is extremely rare for someone to train their first sheepdog to anywhere near it's full potential if the dog has any real talent.  I've heard that it's typically more like your fourth dog before you become fairly proficient at bringing out the best in a talented sheepdog.   Of course there are a ton of variables including the natural talent of the trainer, access to sheep, access to a good mentor, time and money available to commit to training....   But, bottom line, yeah most sheepdog trainers feel that they came up way short training their first dog or two or three.  

But, so what? You gotta start somewhere, and you'll only learn by trying, and it's not like Spillo cares if he becomes the best sheepdog he can possibly be.  If you and he enjoy your interactions while training, and the sense of partnership you develop improves your bond with each other, and the sheep you train with are treated fairly and compassionately and you have a serious goal of improving your skills and learning more about using dogs to manage sheep, then do your best and enjoy the challenge. 

On the other hand, if you (general you, not you personally) are just doing this to collect "titles" after your dog's name, or you have some romantic notion that your dog pines to live up to his heritage, or your dog yearns for the fulfillment of working sheep, or you just consider an occasional session on sheep to be entertainment for your dog, bear in mind that sheep are sentient animals that would rather not participate in providing your dog with a play day no matter how nicely you treat them.  Truly, I'm not trying to discourage you from continuing if you have a serious interest in improving your ability to work sheep with your dog, even if just as a hobby. I'm a hobby herder too.  And the fact that you initiated this conversation, have taken the advice offered to heart, and have continued the conversation indicates that you are serious about improving.   But I feel sort of compelled to remind every newcomer to the sport (I was one myself) that sheep are not dog toys, and if this is just something you (general you) are just doing as an occasional fun day with your dog, nosework is fun too, is way less expensive, can be done in your living room, also uses your dog's innate abilities,  offers a s..t ton of letters to place after your dog's name if you choose to compete, and doesn't place stress on any other animals. 

good observations. for a while I did wonder why I was continuing to do this as I had a lot of difficulties with my very intense dog. I do not consider this activity a hobby, more like teaching me and my dog something that could be helpful in the future (I have an interest in dairy sheep).  I guess to be completely ethical no-one other than farmers should do this type of training,  as only in this case the inevitable stress on the sheep is justified.

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I have been using dogs to help me manage my flock for 18 years.  For the first 5 years or so with sheep it was just me.  My Border Collies were first purchased to work beside me.  I had a ton of dog experience - owning dogs, a vet tech, training, grooming, helping clients and 5 yrs with sheep but honestly I didn't know what I was doing with the pup I bought.  It took me buying a trained dogs that I could learn from before things began to click.  Still after that I made a point of lessons every so often and attending clinics at least once a year, twice if at all possible.  It was 10 years of working everyday, lots of dogs later before I felt like I could be successful training alone.

Training a bc well is not about obedience or commands.  Much harder and more subtle than that.  It is about FEEL and INTENTION and INNATE ability born into the dog.  It is figuring out how to help the dog understand what is needed and becoming a team, using his strengths to your advantage and helping him with his weaknesses.

Teaching a dog to Come Bye or stop or call off is about his relationship with you and the stock not simply the action you would like to have him complete.  Come Bye is not simply circle the sheep clockwise.  Some dogs can do it 5 ft from sheep, some need to be 20 ft, some are fast, some are slower - to flank well the dog needs to be FEELING the sheep and the sheep feeling the dog.  The dog needs to be allowed to figure out for himself where he is going wrong and fix it himself.  Telling him every step simply leads to a dog that is dependent on you and can not or will not take care of things himself.  Training a dog to move sheep is not repeating actions over and over it should be exposing him, helping him to be successful and corrections when wrong left to sort of what is wrong some on his own.  For this to work the sheep have to react like real sheep - not just stand there, not just run, but react to the dog to let him know when he is right or wrong.  Good sheep will train a dog faster than you or I can.  Bad sheep will lead to bad habits.  Telling a dog every step will lead to bad habits.  Attempting to recreate something you have seen that someone told you " that was a good flank, or good pace" will not automatically work because every dog and group of sheep are different.  Most do not understand this.

I am amused when people act and train like they know more about sheep than the dogs who have been raised for generations to have ability and read sheep, know what they are thinking and going to do before they do it.  Few people I know read stock as well as dogs can.  These few people are older than I and have been studying livestock their whole lives.  they have great timing and they too can see what is going to happen before it does,  Putting ego aside and watching dogs and livestock interact with us keeping quiet will teach us lots.

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18 hours ago, denice said:

I have been using dogs to help me manage my flock for 18 years.  For the first 5 years or so with sheep it was just me.  My Border Collies were first purchased to work beside me.  I had a ton of dog experience - owning dogs, a vet tech, training, grooming, helping clients and 5 yrs with sheep but honestly I didn't know what I was doing with the pup I bought.  It took me buying a trained dogs that I could learn from before things began to click.  Still after that I made a point of lessons every so often and attending clinics at least once a year, twice if at all possible.  It was 10 years of working everyday, lots of dogs later before I felt like I could be successful training alone.

Training a bc well is not about obedience or commands.  Much harder and more subtle than that.  It is about FEEL and INTENTION and INNATE ability born into the dog.  It is figuring out how to help the dog understand what is needed and becoming a team, using his strengths to your advantage and helping him with his weaknesses.

Teaching a dog to Come Bye or stop or call off is about his relationship with you and the stock not simply the action you would like to have him complete.  Come Bye is not simply circle the sheep clockwise.  Some dogs can do it 5 ft from sheep, some need to be 20 ft, some are fast, some are slower - to flank well the dog needs to be FEELING the sheep and the sheep feeling the dog.  The dog needs to be allowed to figure out for himself where he is going wrong and fix it himself.  Telling him every step simply leads to a dog that is dependent on you and can not or will not take care of things himself.  Training a dog to move sheep is not repeating actions over and over it should be exposing him, helping him to be successful and corrections when wrong left to sort of what is wrong some on his own.  For this to work the sheep have to react like real sheep - not just stand there, not just run, but react to the dog to let him know when he is right or wrong.  Good sheep will train a dog faster than you or I can.  Bad sheep will lead to bad habits.  Telling a dog every step will lead to bad habits.  Attempting to recreate something you have seen that someone told you " that was a good flank, or good pace" will not automatically work because every dog and group of sheep are different.  Most do not understand this.

I am amused when people act and train like they know more about sheep than the dogs who have been raised for generations to have ability and read sheep, know what they are thinking and going to do before they do it.  Few people I know read stock as well as dogs can.  These few people are older than I and have been studying livestock their whole lives.  they have great timing and they too can see what is going to happen before it does,  Putting ego aside and watching dogs and livestock interact with us keeping quiet will teach us lots.

Can you please explain a bit more what do you mean for bad and good sheep? I understand that very dogged, knee knockers are not ideal. but is there a specific breed of sheep that work best for training? other than heavy or flighty sheep which are the characteristics that make a good sheep for training? even if I did not participate with the dog, as I volunteered at the farm I was before, I attended a clinic with Lyle Lad. although I understand the concept of letting the dog figure it out, I also feel that with my dog I need to be careful and enforce control because he has the potential to kill a sheep just by running the sheep into a fence (he went very close once, the sheep was just unconscious but I thought he killed it). the sheep are not mine, and I have the responsibility to keep them safe (well it would have been the same if they were mine, obviously).

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There is a fine line between having the dog under control and controlling the dog.  If you are trying to keep the dog right and prevent things from happening as opposed to correcting the dog when wrong then the dog doesn't learn as much.  It turns into very mechanical training.  If you correct mistakes he gets a chance to figure out why and what he did that was wrong.  Not trusting your dog will lead to you trying to be controlling.  I have been there, totally understand but you can't progress in that dynamic.  

Does you no good to work in a larger area if you and the dog are not ready to be there.  I would go back to a round pen, work on stops and recalls.  Put on a line if you have to.  

Good training sheep move off a dog calmly, will show him his mistakes, dont simply come to you no matter what the dog does.  Sheep that learn you are the sweet spot are fine for a lesson or two but after that the dog learns the wrong things.  Sheep can't stand still but can't do the work for the dog either.  Sheep used for many dogs usually do one of two things RUN or Stand.  Just because they run does not mean your dog was wrong some of them just learn they can outrun a dog so try that with all of them.  Especially so when they are used for many different types of herding dogs.  Your dog does need to learn to not chase if that happens but you will be more successful teaching that is a smaller space.

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On 7/26/2018 at 12:56 AM, Luana said:

 

Here are my thoughts on the second vid (I’m sorry for the delay, but i am behind with things a bit):

At 22” – he goes on come bye and you need to move backwards instead of standing to give him room to fetch the sheep and then ask him to lie down. He does  a lie down well there.

At 1’ 42” – there is a similar situation, the sheep move off because there is not much room there for him, or they are just very dog broke.  It would help, IMO, to move backwards and then give him lie down. 

At 1’50” – rather than repeating a ‘lie down’ I would a use decisive correction command. I use what Derek uses:   “time! :angry:  there are  other instances in the video where he does not lie down right away after your command, and there the same process would apply – not to repeat the command but to issue a correction, and repeat it nicely as a reward after he does it.   

So you say “lie down :)” he lies down, you move, he moves, you say ‘time! :angry:’ as a rebuke ( I actually say ‘tie!’)  he lies down you then say ‘lie down :)’ with a nice voice. 

Later on when you do ‘walkabouts’ I would change the tempo, so that three is some smart pace there too.  

At about 7’38” you manage to push him out a bit and then I would back off.  So that he learn that if he yields the pressure goes  away

Be careful to be consistent with lie down, sometimes you let him get away with not doing it.  It’s good to have a looser command, e.g. I have a command ‘stand’ where it’s a matter of degree, sometimes slowing down is enough for me, and lie down is so that the dog stops.

At 8’35” – you ask him to go on come bye very close to the fence and yet you put pressure on him with the stick and your position to push him out when he has nowhere to go.    

At 10’07 o say “lie down” and then “good boy” and then he is seen running, which means he broke from the lie down. The best way to avoid it, imo, is not to praise him this way.  You say “lie down” he does it,  and if you feel he is doing a good job, you can repeat nicely “lie down” and with any sign of movement “time!” In this situation you are also saying lie down but showing with the stick “go on a flank” later you also  seem (I am not sure because of the angle) to point the stick at his shoulder that which pushes him into a flank, but you say “lie down”.

Overall I don’t see that he is particularly out of control, or hard to control in this video, his lie down is not perfect but workable. I would try to do things with him like beginning of driving and off-balance flanks, and some variation in the tasks. 

 

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21 minutes ago, Maja said:

Here are my thoughts on the second vid (I’m sorry for the delay, but i am behind with things a bit):

At 22” – he goes on come bye and you need to move backwards instead of standing to give him room to fetch the sheep and then ask him to lie down. He does  a lie down well there.

At 1’ 42” – there is a similar situation, the sheep move off because there is not much room there for him, or they are just very dog broke.  It would help, IMO, to move backwards and then give him lie down. 

At 1’50” – rather than repeating a ‘lie down’ I would a use decisive correction command. I use what Derek uses:   “time! :angry:  there are  other instances in the video where he does not lie down right away after your command, and there the same process would apply – not to repeat the command but to issue a correction, and repeat it nicely as a reward after he does it.   

So you say “lie down :)” he lies down, you move, he moves, you say ‘time! :angry:’ as a rebuke ( I actually say ‘tie!’)  he lies down you then say ‘lie down :)’ with a nice voice. 

Later on when you do ‘walkabouts’ I would change the tempo, so that three is some smart pace there too.  

At about 7’38” you manage to push him out a bit and then I would back off.  So that he learn that if he yields the pressure goes  away

Be careful to be consistent with lie down, sometimes you let him get away with not doing it.  It’s good to have a looser command, e.g. I have a command ‘stand’ where it’s a matter of degree, sometimes slowing down is enough for me, and lie down is so that the dog stops.

At 8’35” – you ask him to go on come bye very close to the fence and yet you put pressure on him with the stick and your position to push him out when he has nowhere to go.    

At 10’07 o say “lie down” and then “good boy” and then he is seen running, which means he broke from the lie down. The best way to avoid it, imo, is not to praise him this way.  You say “lie down” he does it,  and if you feel he is doing a good job, you can repeat nicely “lie down” and with any sign of movement “time!” In this situation you are also saying lie down but showing with the stick “go on a flank” later you also  seem (I am not sure because of the angle) to point the stick at his shoulder that which pushes him into a flank, but you say “lie down”.

Overall I don’t see that he is particularly out of control, or hard to control in this video, his lie down is not perfect but workable. I would try to do things with him like beginning of driving and off-balance flanks, and some variation in the tasks. 

 

I actually really like the idea to use "time"!  sometimes I use lie down wrongly, or just to take time to think, and I know that I need to correct this. I got the DVDs and I see that Derek uses also "now", but this is more for the dangerous ground correction that I still need to get a good grasp of... I wish he had more examples with difficult dogs in the DVD so that I could see more demonstrations of the principle.

and thank you for the very detailed analysis of the video.

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